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Premier League XI outside top six: Burnley, Leicester players impress

It has been a season dominated by Manchester City, with the goals of Mohamed Salah also claiming the spotlight as Liverpool made it all the way to the Champions League final. Manchester United and Chelsea will contest the FA Cup Final, while City defeated Arsenal to win the Carabao Cup. But outside the top six, there have been some remarkable stories and achievements.

Here is the best of the rest: the Premier League team of the season beyond the big six.

Premier League XI
Burnley are rewarded with plenty of players in our XI.

GK: Nick Pope (Burnley)

The goalkeeper has enjoyed a remarkable debut season in the Premier League since replacing the injured Tom Heaton last September. Pope's 11 clean sheets have helped Burnley qualify for the Europa League and earned the 26-year-old a call-up to the England squad.

RB: Pablo Zabaleta (West Ham)

At 33, the right-back has surprised many with his consistency at the London Stadium this season following his departure from Manchester City last summer. But the Argentine's experience has seen him top the Premier League tackles chart this term with 95.

CB: James Tarkowski (Burnley)

The defender's impressive form this season has seen him win his first England cap. The 25-year-old has been a key figure in the Turf Moor outfit's success in securing a top seven finish in the Premier League.

CB: Harry Maguire (Leicester)

A £12m signing from relegated Hull City last summer, Maguire has been outstanding at the heart of Leicester's defence this season, becoming an England regular. The 25-year-old is likely to go to the World Cup this summer and could earn another big move before the start of next season.

LB: Patrick van Aanholt (Crystal Palace)

The Dutch left-back has been a mainstay of Roy Hodgson's team this season and has also contributed four goals, including the winner during Saturday's victory at Stoke. Van Aanholt has been one of the most consistent left-backs in the league this season.

MID: Jonjo Shelvey (Newcastle)

The midfielder divides opinion. His passing game and eye for goal have been crucial for Rafael Benitez's team, prompting talk of an England call-up, but his opening day red card also highlighted his indiscipline at times. Still, his contribution has been huge this season and a key factor in Newcastle's survival.

MID: Jack Cork (Burnley)

The midfielder has been Sean Dyche's running man this season with Cork playing all 3,330 minutes of the club's 37 league games so far this term. His form has also been recognised with an England cap.

MID: Johann Berg Gudmundsson (Burnley)

No player outside the top six has racked up more assists than Burnley's Icelandic midfielder. Gudmundsson has created eight Premier League goals for Sean Dyche's team and his consistency gives him the edge over Leicester's Riyad Mahrez, who has also contributed eight assists.

FW: Jamie Vardy (Leicester)

How long can the Foxes keep hold of the England striker? His consistency in front of goal has seen him score 18 league goals this season and only Salah, Harry Kane and Sergio Aguero have scored more in the Premier League than Vardy this term.

FW: Glenn Murray (Brighton)

Brighton's success in avoiding relegation this season has been largely due to the 12 league goals scored by Murray. At 34, the former Crystal Palace forward has enjoyed his best-ever season in the top flight.

FW: Marko Arnautovic (West Ham)

The controversial Austrian just edges out Crystal Palace's Wilfried Zaha for the final spot after scoring 10 goals and creating five assists, which have been crucial in keeping David Moyes' team in the Premier League. The Hammers would have been doomed without Arnautovic's contribution.

Manager: Roy Hodgson (Crystal Palace)

Sean Dyche's achievements with Burnley this season have been incredible, but when Hodgson arrived at Crystal Palace in September they had lost all four league games without scoring and lost their next three before finally getting their first win against Chelsea after eight games. Keeping Palace in the Premier League appeared impossible in the autumn, but Hodgson has pulled it off.

Mark Ogden is a senior football writer for ESPN FC. Follow him @MarkOgden_


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